First name

Text source

Alexander Crawford (Craffurd) served as an officer in Swedish Danish service. Serving in Scandinavia since around 1613, his early career is difficult to trace. In Denmark, while holding the rank of captain, Crawford was court martialed and sentenced to death for the rape of Maren Pedersdatter, and bribery. This vile act, committed against her servant, was facilitated by Anne, the wife of Captain Daniel Crail [SSNE 366].  In January 1629, Crawford personally approached Prince Christian, seeking his help. The Prince wrote to Frantz Rantzau requesting intercession with King Christian IV on Crawford's behalf. The Prince claimed that the captain wasn't really to blame for his misdeeds due to drunkenness and the wilful misbehaviour of 'his woman' (it is uncertain what is meant here). Crawford was pardoned and banished in March 1629. Crawford received his pay up until December 1628, and in 1629 he went to serve Russia.

Between 1632 and 1634, Crawford fought at Smolensk. In 1639, he taught Western tactics to the Strelsy and in 1646, he petitioned to take his brother John into the Tsar's employ. Crawford was one of three colonels of soldiers in Moscow in 1647, and the Swedish resident observed that all three of them were Scots, the others being Alexander Hamilton [SSNE 3923] and Mungo Carmichael [SSNE 3820]. Crawford was paid 50 rubbles per month, Hamilton 30 and Carmichael 15. Even Carmichael was considered well paid. However, the two senior were not given cash but expected to get their living from their estates. Carmichael resided in Moscow and the inference was that he actually received cash. He also noted that there were a great number of Swedish and German lesser officers but that there were no foreign regiments as such. Instead they commanded newly recruited or rounded up veterans made available to them in time of war. On 26 July 1650, Pommerenning noted that the Scottish officers had been called to Moscow from their country estates, and observed later that Crawford and the others had arrived and were awaiting orders.

Crawford was also engaged in producing potash and invited dyers from abroad. He is last recorded around 1653 where he lost his estates for refusing to convert to Orthodoxy. His daughter married Thomas Crawford.

We thank Dmitry Fedosov and Oleg Nozdrin for their update of this article.



Swedish Riksarkiv, Diplomatica, Muscovitica 39. Dispatches from the Swedish Resident, Karl Anders Pommerenning to Queen Christina. Dispatch 15 September 1647, 26 July 1650, 20 August 1650; G. Lind, Danish Data Archive 1573; Prins Christian (V.)s breve,(Kobenhavn, 1956), vol.2, p.738; T. Riis, Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot (Odense, 1988), II, p.111; D. Fedosov, The Caledonian Connection (Aberdeen, 1996), p.25; Steve Murdoch, Network North: Scottish Kin, Commercial and Covert Associations in Northern Europe, 1603-1746 (Brill, Leiden, 2006), p.93.

In 1636 Craffurd signed the autograph book of Hans Arpenbeck in Reval, writing and epigram in both Scots and German which appears to relate to Proverbs 17:20.

"As bitter gall so do I heat  such men quhos  tung from mynd [and] quhos mynd dessents from þe

"Wie bitter gall so hass ich all und jeden - wessen Zung sein Herz wessen Herz sein Mund ist wider"

'As bitter bile I hate each and everyone whose tongue (acts) against his heart and whose heart acts against his mouth'

Service record

Departed 1628-09-01, as CAPTAIN
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY
Departed 1628-10-04, as CAPTAIN
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY
Departed 1653-07-31, as COLONEL
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY